The real danger of the singularity isn’t that computers will conspire to overtake their masters, but that we’ll let them do it—and then be lost when they fail. This is already apparent in the number of major market crashes that have occurred on the watch of complex algorithms, according to some.
Our eagerness to rely on algorithms to get ahead, MIT Media Lab’s Kevin Slavin told Wired Money attendees on Monday, is revealing a unique set of weaknesses in the stock market. He cited a recent incident in which the Associated Press Twitter feed was hacked, resulting in a tweet that claimed the White House was under attack. “Only about 1,000 people actually believed this,” Slavin said, but it resulted in a huge market drop. “That’s what happens when you remove human evaluation and judgement from the system—it renders the system increasingly fragile, even in something as straightforward as the news.”